From the reviews of From Under Gogol's Nose:
Harte is a genuine master, moving from tales that recall Aesop and La Fontaine to the Latin American surrealists. While asking us to “eat the fruit of the tree of imagination”, Harte demonstrates how the story may reach into the deepest fortresses of the human soul. Here is an Ancient Mariner taking the reader by the ear and leading him into strange territories where he suddenly recognises himself and is astounded. We are all called to be witnesses – to love, pain, the horrors of war, the failure of the imagination.
There are stories here that are set to be classics, like ‘Murphy in the Underworld’, ‘Queen B’, and ‘A Message to Sparta’, and there are stories whose lyrical pitch and rhythm approach the condition of song, such as ‘Turfman’ and ‘Birds’. An essential collection for anyone still touched by the Irish short story.
- Irish Independent
Marvellous opening material on the state of the short story in prospect and retrospect …. Wonderful stuff.
- Books Ireland
Jack Harte has been delighting readers for a couple of decades with his unique brand of symbolism and mischief. His imagination is wild, but tethered in a taut diction to give it credibility. A story that begins with the words, “It came as a pleasant surprise to Murphy to find that he could leave Hades at all,” could be deemed to be sailing very close to wind, but he pulls it off.
- Modern Woman
Harte’s stories in their matter-of-fact referencing of the preternatural and supernatural, and in their blending of the fantastic and the mundane may be seen as affiliates of Magic Realism. However, Harte instinctively resists definition and its concomitant limitation. In an entirely entertaining and provocative prefatory piece, ‘The Storyman Interview’, Harte speaks of the straitjacket of Cork Realism on Irish story writing …. His use of language is inventive, and often startlingly illuminating of an individual character or situation.
- Sunday Business Post
If you do one thing this week - Ponder ‘Painter’, one of the short stories in the excellent collection, entitled ‘From Under Gogol’s Nose’, by Jack Harte, the inspirational founder of the Irish Writers’ Centre.
- Sunday Independent
About the author
Jack Harte was born in Killeenduff, Co Sligo, grew up in Lanesboro, Co Longford, and now lives in Dublin. Harte’s short stories have long been acclaimed and his collection, ‘From Under Gogol’s Nose’, has been translated into Hindi, Bulgarian, and Russian. His novel, ‘In the wake of the Bagger’ was the first literary work to be commissioned under the Irish Government’s Per Cent for Art scheme. Such has been his popularity in Bulgaria that his second novel, ‘Reflections in a Tar-Barrel’ was published in Bulgarian translation a year before it appeared in English. His many jobs include bog labourer, dock worker, bus conductor, civil servant, teacher, and school principal. He founded the Irish Writers’ Union and the Irish Writers’ Centre - of which he is currently Chairman.